Rangers’ Lombardi goes the Mueller route, rejects AHL assignment

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This summer, ex-NHLers Matthew Lombardi and Peter Mueller left the Swiss league to attempt comebacks with the Rangers and Blues, respectively.

Now it sounds like both are headed back across the pond.

Following news that Mueller, who was released by St. Louis, signed with the NLA’s Kloten Flyers, TVA reported that Lombardi refused his assignment to AHL Hartford — meaning a return to his old Swiss club, Geneve-Servette HC, could be in the cards.

Lombardi, 32, looked to have a decent shot of cracking the Rangers this year, especially after center Derek Stepan went down to injury in the preseason. But Lombardi suffered a lower-body injury of his own during camp and was unable to make his way up the depth chart, and didn’t want to toil in the minors for another crack at the NHL.

It’s very similar to the Mueller situation in St. Louis. From NHL.com’s Lou Korac:

“He doesn’t want to go to [AHL] Chicago,” [Blues GM Dough] Armstrong said of Mueller, who played in four preseason games with the Blues. “We put him back on unconditional waivers today. If he clears tomorrow, we’ll talk one more time and make sure that he no longer has the desire to stay in North America. He’ll be released out of his contract, no buyout.”

Mueller was originally penciled into the Blues’ top nine but didn’t make the cut as camp progressed. But the team signed him with the assumption that Mueller would report to Chicago should be not make the opening night roster and work his way back to St. Louis.

“That was a difficult one obviously for the organization and for Peter,” Armstrong said. “We thought he had a good camp. He was in our group of nine players that were going to start in our first three lines and we viewed him as a top nine player. He just doesn’t feel like he has the desire to go to the American Hockey League at this time and work his way back up. I have to respect that and we’ll move forward with that.”